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Should You Hire a Freelance Graphic De-signer or a Firm?
There are so many options these days for getting the expertise you need to fire up your business. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get the best possible people on board to help you with everything from recruitment to graphic design. But how do you decide which is the best option for your business?
Hiring a graphic designer is a business decision, and you should go about it just as you would with any other investment or recruitment process. Part of your process should include consideration of what business model will suit your needs. And the two main types of graphic design business model to choose from are a freelance designer or an agency. But how to decide which model will suit you best? Who can get the job done successfully and at the best price?
As with many other business decisions, it will come down to an assessment of pros and cons for each option and which will suit your project and your business.
• Lower price. Generally speaking, freelancers can offer a better price, mostly because they will have a lower overhead.
• One-on-one communication. You will be dealing with just the designer for the whole project, not a team or having different contacts in several organization departments.
• Flexibility. Freelancers usually work flexible hours and can be available when you need them (within reason, of course. You shouldn’t expect weekend or late-night contact.)
• Speed. A freelancer may be able to complete your project, respond to ques-tions or make revisions faster than an agency could.
• Experience and skill range. When you engage an agency, you’re buying the ex-perience and skills of a team of people. This means access to a broader range of services and skillsets than one person can offer. An agency is also likely to have access to a number of specialist services in-house, enabling multiple tasks to be undertaken at once.
• Reliability. An agency is not dependent on the health and circumstances of one person. Short of a full-scale disaster, they are likely to be able to complete your project no matter what.
• Efficiency. Again, due to economies of scale, an agency may be able to com-plete your project faster than a freelancer, simply because they have more re-sources to draw upon. This can include pre-existing templates and designs as well as people.
• Ongoing support. An agency will usually provide you with ongoing services such as SEO, online marketing, and tech support.
What to Include in a Contract with your Graphic Designer
You’ve done your homework, checked out the field, and found the right graphic designer for your project. Now you need to get everything into a contract so that the project can get started. A good project contract will include all the details nec-essary to get the job done. If both you and the designer have a shared and agreed understanding of the project right from the start, you will eliminate the risk of back and forth questions and answers later – that waste time and money. Here are some key elements to make sure to include in your contract.
1. Project details
Details of the project can be drawn from the creative brief, or the creative brief can be an attachment to the contract itself. It is fundamental that you and the graphic designer know exactly what is required for the project.
This section should spell out the deliverables such as logos, banner ads, brochure details, file formats, and image types and resolutions. How will they be delivered? Via email, flash drive or hardcopy?
It should also delineate your respective roles and responsibilities. Who will pro-vide the copy, for example, or post-project technical support?
2. Timelines and deadlines
Project timelines and dates for deliverables and milestone payments should be clear and realistic. Timelines should also allow for some flexibility and potential delays. Another important consideration is being clear about the approval process and at what stage designs need to be signed off and by whom.
3. Costs and payments
The contract should clearly spell out the budget for the project, expenses proce-dures, and the payment process.
Many contracts allow for 50% of the total fee to be paid when the contract is signed, followed by milestone payments tied to completion of deliverables or tasks during the life of the project. There may be a final payment upon agreed successful delivery of the project.